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Posted on September 9th, 2012, by

Traditionally, the main goal of a prison is considered to be the punishment of criminals for the crimes they have committed. However, it is obvious that such a view on prison is erroneous and does not meet the ethically justified function of prison and its ultimate goal. What is meant here is the fact that the major goal of prison as well as the penitentiary system at large is the correction of criminals and their adaptation to the normal social life. However, the latter goal can hardly be achieved in a prison environment, but the prison staff and the effective organization of its work and life of prisoners can contributed to the correction of prisoners behavior and prepare their adaptation to the normal social life. In this respect, a corrective program should be based on the implementation of ethical norms and principles which could make the prison a place, where prisoners do change their values, philosophy and behavior, instead of being totally corrupt by the modern penitentiary system and its indifference to prisoners.

First of all, it is necessary to balance the attitude of the personnel to prisoners. In this respect, it is very important to keep balance between maintenance of the officers’ authority and the growing gap between officers as representatives of hostile power which oppresses prisoners.

Instead, officers working at prison should be trained, including special psychological training, to make their relationship with and attitude to prisoners more humane. What is meant here is the fact that the officers should not demonstrate their power over prisoners. Any kind of offenses should be totally forbidden, instead, officers should emphasize their respect to prisoners as individuals, who have their dignity, principles, feelings, etc.

At the same time, the officers as well as prisoners should follow the rules and norms established in the prison. What is meant here is the fact that the rules of conduct and work should be clearly defined and both the personnel and inmates should be informed in details on these rules and norms. At this point, it is possible to develop a special Code of Conduct which regulates not only basic norms of the functioning of prison but also clearly defines the relationships and rules of conduct of prisoners and officers. In this respect, it is necessary to stress the basic human values, such as mutual respect, non-offensive attitudes, etc. In fact, the Code of Conduct should clearly define rights, liberties and responsibilities of both parties which should meet the basic human rights and liberties as well as responsibilities that are acceptable by the modern penitentiary system. The main point is to make both the personnel and inmates observe these norms and rules. Obviously, the disobedience or violation of the rules should be punishable, regardless of the position of a person who violated the rules, i.e. both officers and inmates are susceptible to punitive measures equally.

In addition, it is necessary to focus on the development of positive habits and change of the psychology of prisoners. In this respect, it is possible to introduce hippo-therapy, for instance, which contributes to the formation of positive habits in prisoners and even creates conditions for interaction between the personnel and prisoners when they can work together while taking care of horses. In such a way, prisoners can get prepared to interaction with non-prisoners.

Thus, the application of aforementioned recommendation can facilitate the interaction between the personnel and prisoners and prepare the latter for integration into the normal social life since they form habits of positive, ethical behavior.

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